Imagining how Syracuse's latest Boeheim blunder played out

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FILE - In this March 20, 2014, file photo, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim watches his team play during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. Syracuse university officials say coach Boeheim will retire in three years and athletic director Daryl Gross has resigned following punishment from the NCAA for violations that lasted more than a decade. Chancellor Kent Syverud said Wednesday, March 18, 2015, that Boeheim, a Hall of Famer and head coach for 39 years, decided to make the announcement to "bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years" and to allow for a smooth transition. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File)
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  • Jim Boeheim
    Jim Boeheim
    American basketball coach and player

Presumptive meeting between Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim and school chancellor Kent Syverud:

(Phone rings in Jim Boeheim’s office.)

“Coach Boeheim? This is Chancellor Syverud’s assistant. He’d like you to come to his office for a meeting to discuss the future of the basketball program after the NCAA sanctions.”

“I don’t know where his office is.”

“It’s, um, it’s in the main administration building.”

“Can’t he come see me? I’m pretty busy.”

“Let me get back to you on that. [Pause.] Chancellor Syverud will be at your office shortly.”

(Fifteen minutes later, basketball secretary shows Syverud to Boeheim’s office. Boeheim is putting golf balls into a 2003 Final Four commemorative mug.)

“Coach, thanks for your time.”

Jim Boeheim is not waving goodbye. (AP)
Jim Boeheim is not waving goodbye. (AP)

“Sure, Kent. Trying to sharpen my putting stroke here; I’ve got a shot to get on at Augusta later this spring and I want to be ready. Besides, there’s no film to study since you got the bright idea to self-impose a ban on this postseason.”

“Coach, you know we had to do that. Better to apply our own ban than let the NCAA apply it to a better team next year.”

“We should sue them.”

“We’re appealing some of the penalties. I think that’s sufficient.”

“Just make sure we’re appealing the vacated victories. I was at 965, Kent. I only needed a year and a half to reach 1,000. Now I’m down to 858. It’s a travesty. But I know that’s not why you’re here. What’s up?”

“I want you to discuss some significant changes we need to make.”

“Such as?”

“For starters, Daryl Gross is being reassigned.”


“The athletic director.”

“Oh, right. Knew the name rang a bell. I like Daryl – he stayed out of my way and didn’t tell me how to run my program. Why does he have to go?”

“Since you were knee-deep in the season, you may not know how much hell we’ve been through over this NCAA decision. We’ve taken some severe penalties and some big hits in the court of public opinion. After being charged with impermissible benefits, academic fraud and drug-testing violations, it would look pretty bad if we simply kept the same athletic department leadership. I had some reservation because Daryl’s not named in any of the violations, but as the head of the department he has to bear responsibility for what transpired.”

“I suppose. Can you roll those balls back to me?”

“Sure. Is that a Scotty Cameron putter?”

“You bet. Now, is there anything else on your mind or did you just want to tell me about Daryl?”

“Um, there is one other thing ...”


“Coach, we think we need to make a change in this office, too.”

“New carpeting? That would be great. See how hard it is to get a true roll on these putts?”

“Uh, no. I think, ummm, well, I think it’s time to discuss ending your tenure in a way we can all feel good about.”

“That’s a good one, Kent. I’ll feel good about coaching until I wake up one day and say I don’t want to anymore. And I don’t know when that day will be. And I know that you don’t know when that day will be, either.”

Jim Boeheim was yelling at officials back in 1977 too. (AP file photo)
Jim Boeheim was yelling at officials back in 1977 too. (AP file photo)

“Coach, there are a lot of people out there who think we should make a change now.”

“Probably the same people who thought we shouldn’t play so much zone in 2003, too.”

“Coach, I’m not sure you grasp the situation. We’re feeling a lot pressure on this. The school’s integrity and reputation are being assailed. And it’s not like we’re cutting your career short. You’re 70 years old.”

“I’m not sure you grasp the fact that I don’t want to retire. And after being here since 1962, and winning a national championship, and helping get that Carrier Dome built, and putting national-record crowds in it, I’d say it should be my choice when to step down. Isn’t it enough to have Daryl take the fall?”

“How about if we give you one more year? I know next year’s team should be good. That might be a great note to go out on. You can get a nice send-off at every road venue in the ACC.”

“We’ve been in the ACC for two years. Who cares what those schools think? Besides, I don’t want a nice send-off in 2016.”

“I don’t mean to be an annoyance, Coach. But we need to come to a resolution here.”

“Look, Kent. You’re interfering with my short-game practice and you’re wasting my time. If it will get you to leave, I’ll retire in, say, 2018. That work for you?”

“Ummm, well, let me think about this. We’re trying to make changes in direct response to major NCAA rules violations and re-establish our commitment to integrity. We’re reassigning your boss, who isn’t named directly in any violations. You, of course, are named in the report and have been personally sanctioned. And, uh, you want three more years?”

“Did I stutter?”

“No, sir, you certainly did not. Well, upon reflection, we can make that work. I’ll have our PR team draft a release with the news. Thanks for your time, Coach. I’m glad we could come to this understanding.”

“Sure, whatever. Hey, roll back those golf balls on your way out.”